Michael Tsai has a nice roundup of responses to yesterday's Apple Education Event. Google is currently dominating the education sector, and I hoped that an Apple education event would signal a greater shift in strategy from Apple. It didn't.

Anecdotally, my campus uses Google Apps for Education, and many of my students have forgotten about Microsoft Office (to say nothing of iWork). They take notes in Keep, they store files in Drive, they make Google Presentations, and they write in Google Docs. And then there's Gmail. For many of my students, productivity "software" means Google.

I still have hopes that Apple might offer competition in this space. I would love to see more students exploring Swift Playgrounds or writing iOS Workflows or experimenting with AppleScript. There's also space for growth in open textbooks, and the EPUB format offers an accessible point of entry into markup and experimentation.

For example, imagine if Apple put more effort into iBooks and iBooks Author—if they developed the apps more rapidly, provided more tutorials for educators, or just simply marketed the software. I can picture an alternate future where more professors write course textbooks or compile course packs in the EPUB format. Today, higher education is mired in PDFs, and aside from a few textbook vendors, few people are pushing against that. Which is a shame—EPUB offers all the benefits of HTML (reflowable, scalable text) in a form that students can easily download and keep.

Instead, I see Google—not Apple—driving education technology, and their vision is one of server-based consumer apps. Until Apple can offer a lower price for entry, or offer a meaningful competitive difference, I don't see much changing in ed tech.

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Tim Lockridge



tim lockridge

writer, reader, professor

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